Jacob Lief is the founder and CEO of the Ubuntu Education Fund. His goal, the entire purpose of his non profit, is to raise money in order to help the impoverished and vulnerable children that live within South Africa’s Eastern Cape province. Lief has found a ton of success running the Ubuntu Fund but even he realizes that there are problems that have to be addressed along the way. One of the biggest issues with running a non profit nowadays is the issue of fundraising, and not in the way that you think.
Jacob Lief and the rest of his board at Ubuntu, including Andrew Rolfe, came to the sudden realization: they were raising a bunch of money for their cause but it wasn’t going where it needed to go. Andrew Rolfe would ask the question: what is the point in raising all of this money if it wasn’t making it to the people who needed it? This led Jacob Lief to start formulating what is now known as the ‘Ubuntu Model’. The Ubuntu Model is a fundamental shift in the way that non profits seek to raise money for their cause.
Jacob Lief was at the World Economic Forum doing a public speaking event when he admitted to himself, “The money was flowing in but we weren’t changing people’s lives.” This seed of knowledge helped to fuel the Ubuntu Model to prominence. The Ubuntu Model shifts the focus from mass fundraising and instead focuses on high quality benefactors from a certain segment of the population. The problem with mass donations is that they come with strings attached, money earmarked to wasted causes, and benefactors who like to sit in the kitchen while the non profit cooks up their work. Andrew Rolfe and the rest of the board can personally attest to this truth.
Now, Ubuntu is focusing solely on high net worth individuals and family foundations. These benefactors are more hands off with how their donations get spent. This allows a non profit like Ubuntu to focus on spending the money wisely, helping people who need it, while still accomplishing what the benefactor essentially wanted. This model is simple but it could be a huge shift in how things are done.